This is Lydia Tyndall and I have another Miscellany article for y’all.
Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin was born in 1869 in the town of Pokrovskoye Russia. He married young and had three children, but he was constantly getting drunk and starting fights. After one especially nasty brawl, he was thought to be dead. He turned out to be alive, although he was never the same again.
Rasputin became obsessed with religion. He wandered around to monasteries, temples, and churches, begging for charity and lodging. He quit drinking, eating meat, and smoking. He only washed his underclothes every six months.
After a while, Rasputin made his way to St. Petersburg. It was here that he began to turn his “worship” theatrical, to get attention. It worked. The Russian Orthodox Church gave him the title of starets, which means a person with special wisdom.
This got the attention of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. Their son Alexei, the heir to the throne, was sick with Hemophilia, which meant his blood could not clot so therefore he could bleed to death from the smallest scratch. They were desperate for anything to help him so when Rasputin claimed he could heal the sick, he was brought to Alexei. He did get better when Rasputin was around, so whenever he got a cut, scratch, or scrape, Rasputin was summoned.
Raspuitn began to have a lot of influence over the tsar and empress. They fired church and state officials, and replaced them with ones Rasputin liked. He started drinking again and running off with women. All of this combined earned him a bad public reputation.
In 1914 World War One broke out across Europe. The Tsar went off to lead the Russian army, leaving the empress behind to run the country. This arrangement was not at all popular for two reasons. First, the empress was originally from Germany, one of the countries Russia was fighting against. She had only moved to Russia when she married the Tsar. Second, Rasputin had a lot of influence over the decisions that she made, and he was already unpopular.
During this time, the Tsar and his family were living lives of luxury, while many people were struggling to feed their families. The war also brought on food shortages as well as the loss of many lives. A man named Vladimir Lenin led a revolution hoping to get rid of the Tsar and set up a comunist government in which he claimed everyone would be equal.
In the midst of all this upheaval a group of people led by Prince Felix Yuspov decided that Rasputin needed to go. They set up a room to look like a party, and invited him to come in. They fed him poison food, but this didn’t kill him, so after shooting him they threw his body into the icy Neva river.
In 1917 Tsar Nicholas was forced to give up his throne. Later that year the Tsar’s entire family was killed. After that the USSR was founded and the communists stayed in power for many years.